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UAMS expands brain injury resources for rural communities across state

UAMS is reaching out to Arkansas who suffer from traumatic brain injuries to help get them the proper resources to live a better life.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — UAMS is reaching out to Arkansas who suffer from traumatic brain injuries to help get them the proper resources to live a better life.

Terry Imus is a registered nurse and part of the Traumatic Brain Injury Advisory Board. She said Arkansas has not had a dedicated brain injury board since 2008. The board recently started again.

"Because Arkansas is so rural, if you don't live in central Arkansas or Northwest Arkansas, your access to resources are very limited," Imus said.

In 2018, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Community Living awarded the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences with a $150,000 per year grant for three years. The grant was received in partnership with the Arkansas Department of Health,  and the Arkansas Trauma Rehabilitation Program. 

"A brain injury, a lot of times, goes undetected," she said.

So far, the board has identified 1,500 people in Arkansas with a traumatic brain injury in the last three years. That data comes from the people that have gone through the trauma center at UAMS. UAMS is the only adult level one trauma center in the state, so if someone suffers from a traumatic brain injury, they are usually transferred there.

"There are individuals in the state of Arkansas that have brain injuries long before the three years that we don't have a record of," Imus said.

Imus said the goal is to also reach out to those people not on the registry. The board wants to help them with things like finding a job or simply just getting them to the doctor.

"They may have a car that they need modified so that they could drive. There are a lot of issues that they face that they might not have the resources to achieve," Imus said.

Imus said the board only has people registered with moderate to severe injuries, but she said the board also wants to find those who suffer from athletic or mild injuries as well.

"There is hope and help across the state of Arkansas and if we don't reach out to them, we would really like for them to reach out to us," Imus said.

The Traumatic Brain Injury Board is holding a workshop on October 28 in Helena-West Helena to connect people with resources starting at 10 a.m. at the UAMS East Regional Campus.

You can also reach out to the board at any time here: https://idhi.uams.edu/programs/trauma-telemedicine-programs/tbi-state-partnership-program/ 

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